The gently rolling landscape was shaped by the last glacial period. The low, rounded hills, or drumlins, were the result of glaciers rolling over mounds of rubble that had been pushed up before the moving ice. Many of the lakes and streams were scraped out by the glaciers, leaving them with bases and shores of exposed bedrock. The very shallow soil left by the retreating glaciers results in some very clear waterways; while other waterways, fed by bog filtered water, are dark and mysterious.
Most of this area had been cleared for farming or just by logging and fires before the Kejimkujik National Park was established in 1967. As a result there are only isolated examples of the original old-growth hardwood forests; found mainly on some of the drumlins that have the richer, thicker soil found in Kejimkujik. The trees in these old-growth forests are mainly birch, oak and red maple. The understory plants are thick and rich in varieties of fern, over 23 species of fern are found in the park, and wildflowers. There are even a few groves remaining of 300 year old Hemlocks, with only a few mosses found in the understory. In the areas of the park where the old growth had been logged, mixed forests have grown up, allowing white birch and balsam fir into the hardwood mix. Finally, in about 20% of the park, on the higher, drier ground, you can find the softwood forests of red spruce, balsam fir, and even some white pine. A wide variety of orchids can be seen growing throughout the park.
One of the special joys of canoeing in Kejimkujik National Park is that it is easy to observe the wild life. Quietly drifting on the water, you can pass by undisturbed white tail dear and black bear along the waters edge. Beavers and their dens a frequently observed by park visitors. You might even have a chance to see two of the newer species to be found in the park; martens and coyotes. Martens were intentionally reintroduced into the park in 1987. The coyotes have been expanding their natural range on their own and were first seen in Kejimkujik in 1985, with four family groups now calling the park home.
Kejimkujik National Park is also home to a wide variety of non-mammalian species. There are three species of turtles; the eastern painted turtle, the snapping turtle and Blanding’s turtle. There are five species of non-venomous snakes, with the ribbon snake being the rarest and protected within the park. Four species of salamanders, seven species of frogs, and one toad are also found around the waterways of the park. There are twelve species of fish in the lakes and streams with brook trout, perch, and brown bullhead being the most common. Over 170 species of birds have been catalogued within the park, including barred owls, woodpeckers, the common loon and a variety of other water fowl.
Kejimkujik National Park is an excellent place to visit if you want to view and experience the natural world first hand. While only 391 square kilometers in size, most of the park is accessible only by foot or canoe. The easy terrain, though, makes it very easy for the novice hiker or boater to gain that access.